tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC January 11, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
the big weather bomb growing by the minute. hear me now? tonight, a big change in smartphones. how will it help you? and, one million salutes. acts of kindness. a milestone in making sure every soldier gets a thank you and a smile. good evening. it's good to have you with us. tonight, the parents of the accused tucson shooter are breaking their silence about their son. the son looking out with those eye s in that police photo, as also tonight, from the neighborhood, others who knew jared loughner are describing what they say was a visible dissent into mental illness. pierre thomas is in tucson tonight, and has learned more about what people saw and what might have been done. pierre? >> reporter: diane, i'm standing right outside of loughner's house. and as you said, we just got an emotional statement from his
parents. tonight, investigators are trying to piece together what is going on inside this man's mind, behind those eyes and that inster smile. today, the loughner family released their first statement. "we don't understand why this happened. it may not make any difference, but we wish would coy change what happened saturday. we care very deeply about the victims and their families. we are so very sorry for their loss." last night, neighborhood wayne smith went to see loughner's father. >> he can't get out three words without crying. not only is he sad for his son, he is devastated all those people that was involved. she's in bed and she's just broke down, nervous wreck. >> reporter: but other neighbors say the parents were part of the problem. >> i saw a child that wanted to come out and play and wasn't allowed to come out and play for whatever the reason may be. >> reporter: and today, one of loughner's friends offered new
insight into why his behavior was often so erratic. he tells abc news loughner was a heavy drug user. >> i know he had smoked pot, he used mushrooms. i know he used salvia. >> reporter: meanwhile, today, 100 fbi agents continued to scour the crime scene and reconstruct loughner's life. tonight, sources tell us that employees inside the gun store that sold loughner the weapon did so reluctantly. they found him strange. now, many expect an insanity defense. they made that sale because they had to. his background check came up clean, diane. >> even those in the gun store. thank you, pierre, for your reporting tonight. and as you just said, so many people now say they saw the strange behavior, raising the question that could be faced in any neighborhood anywhere. what should they have done? dan harris reports from tucson on a safety net that went
unused. >> reporter: in the months before jared lee loughner allegedly launched his calculated killing spree, there was a gathering storm of worries and warnings. >> i told my mother he was a serial killer the first time i saw him. >> some of them made jokes about how they were worried he would come in one day with a gun. >> reporter: by his professors. >> jared was not your normal student. >> reporter: and by officials at pima community college, who sent campus police to loughner's home, telling him he could not come back unless he had a mental health evaluation. but here in arizona, and, in fact, in any state in america, any of those people who were so alarmed by jared lee loughner could have simply called government mental health officials and demanded he undergo a mental health evaluation. under arizona law, anybody who comes into contact with somebody who they believe is mentally unstable, they can simply call you and report it? >> they can request through our
crisis hotline somebody to go out and evaluate that person, absolutely. >> reporter: and, if that had happened, loughner might have been treated, invowel lunn tearily committed or become one of the 800 mentally ill people monitored by officials here every day. so, why did no one step forward? we asked officials at pima community college, but they didn't answer. and, according to classmate stephen kates, while loughner's behavior was creepy, it was by no means clear that he was a potential mass murderer. >> at most, it was unsettling, seeing him grin, but it, nothing alarming or anything that made me feel immediately threatened. >> reporter: we should point out, even if somebody had reported loughner, there's no guarantee that his alleged violence would have been this warted. consider this. out of more than 120,000 arizonans with mental illness disqualifying them from buying a gun, less than 5,000 have been
sbroed into the federal data base for background checks. dan harris, abc news, tucson. and, what about the survivors tonight? that amazing medical team we met in tucson yesterday, the doctors caring for congresswoman gabrielle gef foiv giffords and gave a bit of hope. at the hospital, her round the clock surgery team updated and her condition and reminded everyone there could be still a long road ahead. >> she's able to generate her own breaths. she's breathing on her own. as long as we don't backslide, that's good. that keeps us hopeful. >> reporter: and we also heard today for the first time from bill heilman, whose wife suzie who brought the new girl on the student council, 9-year-old christina-taylor green, to hear congresswoman griffords.
>> she grabbed my hand, she looked me in the eyes and she said, what about christina? we were advised the right thing to do would be to tell her the truth. which we have done. i hear her in her semiconscious ramblings screaming out, "christina, christina, let's get out of here." and she keeps talking about the holding of hands and then the realization that she was on the ground and the bleeding was profu profuse. her memory seems to end there. the greens very much remain in our prayers every minute. >> reporter: penny wilson and angela robinson are the daughters of mavi stoddard, whose husband died when he threw himself on top of his wife. >> he covered my mom. as dad lay dying, mom didn't know she had been hurt. she thought she was holding him and her legs started hurting and it wasn't until they got to the hospital that she realized she had been shot. >> our mother is doing quite
well. she has a lot of strength and courage and she will go forward. they married 15 years ago. they were 6th grade girlfriend and boyfriend and they had a wonderful, loving life together. and now, we turn from tucson, and the news out of tucson, to that goal lie yath of a storm, locking in a whole quarter of this country. it is already taken 11 lives and experts say it's exprobing like a bomb. traveling is at a stand still. 2500 flights canceled today alone. hundreds of drivers stranded. steve osunsami is in the middle of it in atlanta. steve? >> reporter: good evening, diane. i lived here 15 years now and i have never seen it quite like this. on the side streets especially, there's a thick colt of ice. and not just here, but across this entire region.
first, there is this amazing image. the ice was so thick outside evan freeman's atlanta apartment, he could skate down his street. >> ain't prepared for it and they ain't got nobody that know what's going on. >> reporter: cars spinning out. people sliding down sidewalks. at the bus station, the buses never came. >> people are hungry. they just let us sit there and starve and not do anything about it. it's just terrible. >> reporter: on the freeways outside atlanta, families spent the night stuck on ice. >> i was able to maneuver through for awhile to get to this point, and then i got to this point and couldn't go no farther. >> reporter: bart and michelle lester haven't left their home in days and they're running out of milk. the road near their home is too slick. >> we're stuck here. >> reporter: those that could get out rushed to the grocery stores. >> no chicken. nothing is left. >> tried to get ground beef. we couldn't. >> reporter: forecasters tell us
the storm is now churning over the warm waters of the atlantic ocean, gathering strength. they expect it to slide with a second storm and bitterly cold air from canada to create what forecasters are actually calling a weather bomb. the system is set to explode with snow and gale-force winds as it marching north. in new york city, they're bracing for another 8 to 12 inches of snow. >> our sanitation department has 365 salt spreaders and 1,700 plows ready. >> reporter: to avoid a repeat of the chaos of christmas, they are putting sleds in ambulances so paramedics can pull patients across the snow. and gps-tracking devices on snowplows so the city can send trucks where they are most needed. >> get them on the radio and trans port them over there. >> reporter: health officials are warning residents in the northeast as they prepare to shovel all that snow. diane, they point out that the weight of the snow that falls on your drive the way could be
equal to the weight of a car. so, people should be careful. >> be careful. thank you, steve. and our weather editor, sam champion, made his way to new york to do this all over again. sam, you were telling me, it's growing by the minute. >> and that's what's impressive about this storm. if possible, diane, it becomes even more dangerous overnight tonight. rapidly intensifying. exploding, bombing, if you will, because it connects with other things, areas of energy in the northeast. there's that storm moving in from the midwest that steve was talking about, as we show you this. and also the jet stream is in position in the northeast. so, right there, right about washington, d.c., it bombs, or, exploding into one of the rare snow makers that has blizzard conditions in boston, up to 15 inches of snow, 12 inches of snow in new york. >> is this something we haven't seen before, or in a long time, because we are putting this all together. >> it becomes a rare storm. but it's all the things coming together. it happens this time of year, because this is warm gulf
moisture, rushing into very cold arctic air. when you get that, these other influences, you get a rapidly increasing storm. it happens but rarely. >> sam, great to see you here tonight. there are cities from philadelphia to boston who will be in full gear, and, of course, so are we in new york. our team is going to be in the thick of it in new york, imbedding around the country around the clock as the storm hits, and they will be there with the trucks and they will be lining up with the crews, sending back live pictures on it all from their travels. follow them tomorrow on "good morning america," with sam and on our website. and they'll be tweeting along the way. still ahead on "world news," what is the practice called lucid dreaming, that became the gunman's obsession? the battle for your cell phone business. should you switch? and, 1 million acts of kindness from a stranger, for the men and women who serve.
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youtube page, there's a certain fixation on dreaming. "i am a sleepwalker -- who turns off the alarm clock," he writes. friends described him as obsessed by something called "lucid dreaming." >> lucid dreaming is when a person has not only very vivid dreams, very clear dreams, but they are consciously aware that they are dreaming and they are able to influence or work within the dreams. >> have you ever had a dream, neo, that you were so sure was real? >> reporter: lucid dreaming is a concept straight out of movies like "the matrix" -- living a superhuman life in your sleep. the dream as adventure sport? >> yes, exactly. it's a place where you can do anything without any external consequences. >> reporter: dr. stephen lebarge trains people in lucid dreaming. in dreams, you could have a tryst with a total stranger. conquer a lifelong fear. or commit murder. without any fear of consequences. jared loughner's friend bryce
tyranny told "mother jones" magazine loughner kept a journal of his dreams and tyranny saw it. "that's the golden place of evidence," he said, "you want to know what goes on in jared loughner's mind, there's a dream journal that will tell you everything." but tyranny says loughner got in too deep, like the characters in the movie "inception," his dream became more vivid to him than his waking life. psychologists say that's a very real risk. is it possible that when he allegedly pulled that trigger, he thought he was dreaming. >> it's certainly possible that this was very much like what he dreamt before. >> reporter: it might just be possible that on saturday, loughner's dark dreams became this community's nightmare. david wright, abc news, tucson. and, after our break, let the games begin. the battle over your cell phone service. is it time to switch? big news today. and playmate.
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hubble space telescope today. it looks like pure scu-fi. but nasa scientists say this is the remnants of a collision between two galaxies the size of the milky way. 650 million light years away, and scientists say it's strangely alive, brimming with newborn stars. the eerie green color, oxygen glowing against the celestial sky. and from a seismic discovery in space to a seismic announcement here on earth for anyone who wanted to take a hammer to their cell phone, because it keeps dropping calls. a collective sigh of relief from countless cell phone users tonight. the apple iphone finally coming to verizon. will this make a difference? should you switch? i ask our technology guru becky worley. okay, becky, battle of the titans, but for those of you who have the phones who are trying to comb pleat the calls what does this mean? >> reporter: well, what you hope this means is that iffer are
rison, which is consistently rated number one in customer satisfaction, because they drop the fewest calls, getting the iphone, that that long-standing frustration, at&t customers have had with all the dropped calls, you hope the iphone and verizon changes that. here's the question. 9 million iphones are predicted to come to verizon. can they handle that kind of networkload? will they start dropping calls more? >> are you saying switch your service now or are you saying to people, wait and see? >> reporter: there are people who have to be first, who have to be the early adopters, and they are willing to take that risk, but i say, wait and see how verizon handles the load. >> practically, for me, what are the comparative advantages? >> reporter: if watching video on the phone is important, then at&t has the edge. >> so, you're saying, don't forget there are still trade-offs -- >> if you travel a lot, in asia, or europe, the verizon iphone may -- doesn't perform as well.
but on the flip side, there's been a new trend called tethering. well, with verizon, they are going to let ycreate a wi-fi ho spot and power up to five different devices. with at&t, it's much more limited. >> i just want to say, becky, i will be calling you to tether me. the olds of my being able to tether myself to anything are so slim. >> reporter: i'll be your tech support, diane. >> thank you very much. great to talk to you. and coming up on "world news," one man, giving a hero's welcome to 1 million soldiers. often, the best part of a eal is the dessert. but sometimes afte a busy day and a big dinner... my system eeds some tlc. activia dessert. rich, silky, smooth yogurt with desserty flavors like strawberry cheeecake, blueberry cheesecake, and peac cobbler.
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and now, we want to tell you about a simple but powerful act of kindness, extended 1 million times. for more than five years, you may know a group of americans has been welcoming home the troops to thank them for their service overseas. well, today, a milestone. 1 million who served. andrea canning has the story. >> reporter: we don't know who exactly was the millionth soldier to pass through the dallas-ft. worth airport, but to burk brady, it doesn't matter. the army veteran greets them all the same. >> we have to support them. we similardly have to support them. they're our heroes and more important than that, the wives and their families are our heroes. they suffer just as badly as anybody. >> reporter: today, brady and his thousands of fellow volunteer greeters, from boy scouts to veterans, were honored for their milestone, by the army's top brass. >> it feels so good.
it's wonderful to be there. >> reporter: every day in dallas, as many as 275 soldiers pass through the airport, coming home for rest and recuperation. >> welcome home, sergeant. >> reporter: we first caught one the volunteers and the soldiers in 2007. >> it's just nice to be home. but we know they took time out of their day, you know, to be here. >> reporter: brady says some of the soldiers have become all too familiar faces, returning from as many as four tours of duty. but their attitudes never seem to waver. >> they're very optimistic. they're very upbeat. they are honored to serve their country. >> reporter: and today, the country honored them. a welcome sight for soldiers coming home. andrea canning, abc news. >> and, a salute for bert brady and his volunteers, too. great to be with you tonight. have a great night.